There have been 16 previous occupants of the Chair:

The Nancy Rowell Jackman Chair in Women’s Studies (Nancy’s Chair) was established at Mount Saint Vincent University in the mid-1980s. Since 1986, 16 occupants have held the role of Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies. Read more about each of the occupants in the drop-down areas below:

Dr. Janet Conway (2019-2021)
El Jones (2017 – 2019)
Catherine Martin (2015 – 2017)
Dr. Deborah Stienstra (2013 – 2015)
Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell (2009 – 2012)
Dr. Lorraine Code (2007-2008)
Dr. Christine Overall (2006-2007)
Dr. Lenore Kuo (2004-2006)
Sylvia Hamilton (2001-2004)
Sharon Batt (1999-2001)
Dr. Margaret Conrad (1996-1998)
Dr. Maureen McNeil (1993-1995)
Dr. Margrit Eichler (1992-1993)
Dr. Krishna Ahooja-Patel (1990)
Dr. Marguerite Andersen (1987-1988)
Dr. Thelma McCormack (1986)

Thelma McCormack is a Professor Emerita at York University. She is the former President of the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association and the Canadian Women’s Studies Association. Her areas of interest include communication, political sociology and health. After receiving an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin and completing graduate work at Columbia University, Professor Thelma McCormack has gone onto to teach at many North American universities, as well as the University of Amsterdam and Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

Dr. Andersen is an accomplished writer. She has taught French and translation (English, French and German) at several universities and has also worked as a translator and interpreter to diplomats and writers. Dr. Andersen was the editor of Canada’s first feminist anthology in the 1970s, Mother was not a Person. She has also written several novels, short story collections and plays.

Dr. Ahooja-Patel was involved in the United Nations system for twenty-five years as the editor for the ILO journal, Women at Work, and as Deputy Director of the United Nations International Institute of Research and Training for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW). Dr. Ahooja-Patel has held positions at McGill University and Saint Mary’s University. She has taught special courses on the United Nations and Development and Women’s Rights/Human Rights. She is also President of the World Women’s Summit Foundation, an NGO coalition of women and children in Geneva and editor of their global newsletter, Seventy-Five Percent.

Dr. Eichler is a Professor of Sociology and Equity Studies at the University of Toronto. She has received several honours for her work including the Distinguished Visiting Professorship at the University of Alberta in 1985 and an honourary Doctorate of Laws from Brock University in 1991. She has written eighteen books and monographs and has acted as a consultant for many government organizations, including Statistics Canada and the Canadian Advisory Council on the Status of Women, the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Attorney General of Ontario, on women’s issues.

Dr. McNeil is Director and reader in the Institute for Women’s Studies at Lancaster University, UK. She wrote Under the Banner of Science: Erasmus Darwin and His Age (1987), edited Gender and Expertise (1987) and co-edited The New Technologies. (1990). Dr. McNeil’s research areas include such topics as feminism and Foucault, cultural studies, feminist pedagogy fetal alcohol syndrome and ‘crack babies’.

Dr. Conrad is Canada Research Chair in Atlantic Canadian Studies at the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton and was a founding member of the editorial board of Atlantis, and its co-editor from 1977-1985. She has published widely in the fields of Maritime Canada and women’s history and is co-author with Toni Laidlaw and Donna Smyth of No Place Like Home: The Diaries and Letters of Nova Scotia Women, 1771-1938 (1988).

Sharon Batt is a writer and activist who has achieved prominence for her work focusing on breast cancer.

Ms. Batt holds a Master’s in Psychology from the University of British Columbia. Prior to accepting her current position as Nancy’s Chair, she was director of policy and research for Breast Cancer Action Montreal, the advocacy group she co-founded in 1991.

Diagnosed with breast cancer in 1988, Ms. Batt was struck by the invisibility of women with breast cancer in society and the fact that their perspective was absent from discussions about the disease. She began to examine this absence of voice in her writing, first in articles and radio documentaries, and eventually in the book, Patient No More: The Politics of Breast Cancer (1994). She has won citations and awards for this book and for her two-hour documentary on mind-body theories of cancer, broadcast on the CBC radio series Ideas. Her recent writing questions the use of drugs to prevent breast cancer.

A frequent international guest speaker about breast cancer, Ms. Batt has also served on many national and international public policy committees dealing with the issue. Currently, she is active on the Working Group on Women and Health Protection, a national coalition of academics and community activists. She was a member of the scientific peer review panel of the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Initiative’s Streams of Excellence grants program; and she was on the Program Committee of the Second
World Conference on Breast Cancer Advocacy sponsored by the National Breast Cancer Coalition. Additionally, she was advocacy member of the Etiology working group of the United States National Action Plan on Breast Cancer, established by President Clinton in 1993.

In addition to conducting her own research and lecturing throughout the Atlantic Region, the Chair is an ex-officio member of the Department of Women’s Studies and teaches two half-unit senior Women’s Studies
seminar courses: WOMS 4411 (The Politics of Women’s Health) and WOMS 4412 (A Feminist Approach to Women’s Health Policy). She will hold a conference on Women’s Health at the Mount in May 2001.

Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies is designed to bring to the Mount campus distinguished scholars in women’s studies and activists who have contributed to the advancement of women. Duties associated with the Chair include teaching, research and public presentations on campus and around the Atlantic provinces.

Ms. Batt is the seventh appointment to the chair, which was established by a federal grant in 1984 and endowed by Nancy Ruth, a well-known Canadian feminist and philanthropist.

Through her work as a filmmaker and writer, Ms. Hamilton has brought the life experiences of African Nova Scotians to the mainstream of Canadian arts. She has achieved international prominence through her award winning films as well as through her publications, public presentations and extensive volunteer work with artistic, social and cultural organizations on the local and national levels.

Best known for her groundbreaking film Black Mother Black Daughter, Ms. Hamilton recently completed two major documentary projects that also charted new territory; No More Secrets, a documentary about violence against women in the Black Community and Portia White: Think On Me, a documentary about the legendary Canadian contralto Portia White, known as ‘Canada’s Marian Anderson’.

Ms. Hamilton holds a B.A. from Acadia University and an M.A. from Dalhousie University. She was a co-founder of the innovative New Initiatives in Film Program (a program designed to provide opportunities for women of colour and women of the First Nations to make films) at the National Film Board’s Studio D. She brought her rich and varied experiences to the Women’s Television Network (WTN) Foundation, where she is currently WTN Foundation Vice Chair and Chair of the Program Committee. Other professional involvements include the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia Board of Directors and the National Executive of the Canadian Independent Film Caucus.

For more than 20 years, Dr. Lenore Kuo’s research has specialized in feminist public policy, feminist theory and ethics.

While at MSVU, Dr. Kuo focused on methodologies for public policy analysis and a collaborative project on new public policy for mail-order brides. In May 2006, a public conference was held jointly with the Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies and the Feminist Public Policy Project entitled Women, Immigration, Transnational Migration and Public Policy to bring together International and North American academics, non-profit agency representatives, students and individuals from the women’s community to engage in presentations, conversations and discussions concerning themes and issues related to women and immigration policy.

Dr. Kuo holds an MA and PhD in Philosophy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She most recently served as Director of the Women’s Studies program at California State University at Fresno. Dr. Kuo has held several academic appointments in the field of women’s studies, including 15 years as a faculty member in the Department of Philosophy and Women’s Studies at the University of Nebraska. She is a member of many professional associations, including the American Philosophical Association, Feminist Approaches to Bioethics, the National Women’s Studies Association, the Society for Women in Philosophy, and the Society for Analytical Feminism. She has also volunteered as a crisis counsellor for battered women and rape victims for community organizations.

Dr. Christine Overall is one of the world’s leading feminist philosophers. Her groundbreaking academic contributions to reproductive ethics and social policy, applied ethics, philosophy of religion, and social philosophy are complemented by her award-winning teaching abilities. She is also the author of a weekly newspaper column.

Her most recent book is Aging, Death, and Human Longevity: A Philosophical Inquiry (University of California Press, 2003). This book won the Canadian Philosophical Association’s Book Prize in 2005 and received the Royal Society of Canada Abbyann D. Lynch Medal in Bioethics in 2006.

Other books she has published include Thinking Like a Woman: Personal Life and Political Ideas (Sumach Press, 2001), A Feminist I: Reflections From Academia (Broadview Press, 1998) and Human Reproduction: Principles, Practices, Policies (Oxford, 1993).

Dr. Overall holds an MA and PHD in Philosophy from the University of Toronto. Her distinguished career includes several prestigious appointments and firsts. In 2004, she was appointed as the John and Ella G. Charlton Professor of Philosophy at Queen’s. She was the inaugural Churchill Humphrey and Alex P. Humphrey Professor in Feminist Philosophy in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Waterloo in 2003.

Philosopher and feminist scholar of international renown Dr. Code is the 11th appointment to the Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies, and an award-winning teacher.

Dr. Code is a Distinguished Reserrch Professor in the Department of Philosophy at York University in Toronto, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. She has held visiting fellowships at the Humanities Research Centre of the Australian National University and at Macquarie University in Sydney Australia, has been a visiting professsor at the University of New South , and scholar in residence at Rhodes University in Frahamstown South Africa. From 1999-2001 Dr. Code held the prestigious Canada Council Killiam Research Fellowship; and in 2005 she was awarded a Doctor of Letters honoris causa (D>Litt), by the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario.

Dr. Code’s best know book, What Can She Know? Feminist Theory and the Construction of Knowledge (Cornell University Press, 1991) is a path -breaking book in feminist epistemology, which has been reprinted several time.

Dr. Deverell’s distinguished career has included work as an academic, broadcaster, television and producer/director, journalist, arts administrator and theatre artist. She holds a BA in Philosophy from Adelphi University, MA in History of Religions from Columbia University and EdD in Curriculum from OISE at the University of Torotno, and was the first woman to lead a journalism program in Canada in her postion as Director of the School of Journalism at the University of Regina in the 1980s. She completed her term as head of news and current affairs at the Aboriginal People’s Netwrok in 2005 and is a founder of Vision TV, the world’s first multifath and multicultural network.

Recently Dr. Deverell has produced, directed, written, or acted in severeal theatre pieces and television dramas, as well as being an Editor and/or Contributor to three books. She was recognized in 2005 with the Order of Canada for her pioneering work in journalism, with the CanWest Global Fellowship at the University of Western Ontario in 2007, and as Storyteller in Residence at Centennial College’s Centre for Creative Communications and in 2008.

In 2011 Nancy’s Chair celebrated its 25th anniversary and the contributions of the Chair, Senator Nancy Ruth, Rita Deverell, and the Mount were recognized by a Resolution presented by Diana Whalen, MLA in the Nova Scotia Legislative Assembly.

Deborah Stienstra is a Professor in Disability Studies at the University of Manitoba. In 2012 , she published About Canada: Disability Rights (Fernwood Publishing). Her recent SSHRC funded research includes examining inclusion and exclusion of diverse women’s experiences in economic developments in Canada’s North, and a pilot study on developing community vitality indicators in Labrador. In 2013 – 2014 she led a project to bring Nova Scotia and Labrador women together to share their knowledge about Muskrat Falls and the Maritime Link. She also explores research on the impacts of changing public services on diverse groups of women including women with disabilities; the intersections between disability, including women with disabilities; the intersections between disability, race/ethnicity and Aboriginality; access and inclusion in telecommunications policy; and experiences of people with disabilities in end of life and cancer care. She has been actively involved in national women’s organizations over the past two decades including the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW).

A member of the Millbrook First Nation in Truro, Nova Scotia, Catherine is an independent film producer, director, writer, facilitator, communications consultant, community activist, teacher, drummer, and the first woman Mi’kmaw filmmaker from the Atlantic region. Catherine’s many award-winning documentaries tell the stories of her nation and include the animation film Little Boy Who Lived with Muini’skw (2004), the NFB film The Spirit of Annie Mae (2002), and Spirit Wind (2000).

A poet, activist, community organizer, scholar, teacher, radio host, and journalist, El is well known in the Halifax community as the Poet Laureate of Halifax from 2013 to 2015 and a popular and compelling speaker at events throughout the city, and through her community work, including as Artistic Co-Director of the Word Iz Bond Spoken Word Artist Collective, co-founder of the Centreline Studios/Uniacke Centre for Community Development, and the host of the weekly Youth Now! Radio show on CKDU. El’s reputation is also national and international: she was National Slam Champion at the Canadian Festival of the Spoken Word in 2007 and 2008 and a Fellow of the prestigious Writing Program at University of Iowa in 2015. She has performed her poetry and led workshops on poetry and social justice throughout Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean. El’s current scholarly project is a collaborative prisoner-centered ethnography, “Notes from Prison,” that uses creative scholarship and poetic expression to explore transformative justice. El is also a gifted teacher who has taught at the Mount, as well as at other universities in the region.

Dr. Conway is a Professor in the Department of Sociology and Tier II Canada Research Chair in Social Justice at Brock University, where she was founder and former Director of the Social Justice Research Institute. She is the author of three books and many peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. Currently, she is co-investigator on a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Project on the politics of solidarity in the World March of Women, a transnational feminist network that involves multi-sited field work across the global South. Dr. Conway is also co-applicant on a research project on Bodies, Territories, and Resource Extraction in the Americas, which aims to investigate the embodied effects of land despoliation and dispossession experienced by Indigenous peoples, especially women, and to inquire how that body of knowledge can be mobilized for resistance and survival.